It dances on the air – that warming cinnamon, heady nutmeg and doughy glazed bread, that can only mean one thing: hot cross buns. 

Nothing brings out the aromas better than a decent toasting and lashings of butter. 

And while the baked good marked with a cross and studded with dried fruit, is traditionally supposed to be eaten on Good Friday, we all know they turn up on supermarket shelves as early as January.  

But what is a hot cross bun? And how healthy is it?

These might be some questions you ask after throwing a pack in your trolley each week and eating on the daily in the lead up to Easter. 

There are a gazillion recipes but typically hot cross buns feature fresh yeast, strong baker’s flour, eggs, milk, brown sugar, butter, mixed spices and dried fruit. (Side note: Historically, they were made without milk because dairy was forbidden during the Christian period of Lent.)

How do you like them buns? Image: Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

So they’re kind of a bread slash cake hybrid

And here’s the thing – you have a dietitian’s word for it – hot cross buns are neither unhealthy nor healthy – they’re neutral. 

They’re just a food. 

And you only eat and enjoy them at one time of the year, so there’s absolutely zero point feel guilty about sinking your teeth into the perfect bun.

My advice? Savour, enjoy and move on with your life.

If you need more support like this to end emotional eating and deeming food “good” or “bad” check out my online program, Keep It Real.